Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 1/19/15

MLK Would be “Shutting It Down”

If Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were alive, he would have joined in the 96-hour direct action and civil disobedience campaign coordinated by the ONYX Organizing Committee, in Oakland, California, this past weekend, according to activist Cat Brooks. “He’d be shutting it down” at federal buildings and taking over freeways,” said Brooks. “As in the later part of his life, he’d be connecting, loudly, the bloody dots of capitalism and gentrification with the systematic oppression and violence against Black and brown people in the cities.”

Man Who Recorded Eric Garner’s Death Has Court Date

Ramsey Orta, the Staten Island, New York, man who videotaped Eric Garner’s death by chokehold at the hands of a cop, appears in court January 25 on weapons charges. Orta maintains police set him up in retaliation. His lawyer, Alton Maddox, said “It’s time for a reawakening of the people in New York City as to how grand juries should be employed.” As it stands, prosecutors use grand juries as an excuse NOT to indict cops, said Maddox, whose license to practice law was revoked in 1990, in the wake of the Tawana Brawley case.

French Celebrate White Supremacy and Racist Values

“’Je Suis Charlie’ has become an arrogant rallying cry for white supremacy,” wrote Ajamu Baraka, editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report and co-founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network. The French “values” that are supposedly under attack are, in reality, “grounded in a colonial division between people who are recognized as humans, and those who have been consigned to the category of sub-humans and are eligible to be murdered, to have their lands taken, to be enslaved,” said Baraka. “Those are the values that many of those people who embraced ‘Je Suis Charle’ were, in fact, upholding.”

Right On! to Franz Fanon on His 90th Birthday

Dr. Lewis Gordon, professor of philosophy and African American Studies at the University of Connecticut, spoke at the Pan-African Bazara, in Nairobi, Kenya, on the 90th birthday of Franz Fanon, the psychiatrist from Martinique who fought alongside the Algerians against French colonialism and wrote The Wretched of the Earth and Black Skin, White Masks. Fanon taught that “every group has to understand that it has the responsibility to set the conditions for its own freedom and emancipation,” said Dr. Gordon. “He argues that it is not enough to fight for material change; you need also to set the conditions for very new concepts” of human existence. Fanon died of leukemia in 1961.

Black Colombian Women Defend Ancestral Land Rights

Illegal gold mining operations are poisoning the environment and infringing on the land rights of African-descended people in Colombia, South America. Charo Mina-Rojas, an organizer of women’s resistance to the incursions, said local authorities are collaborating with the mechanized mining operators. “They are armed, but we have to expose ourselves to make sure that these people understand that these are our territories, we have rights there, and we are ready to protect them by all means necessary,” said Mina-Rojas.

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: One hour. Click here to download this show.

Freedom Rider: Charlie Hebdo: “Je Suis White People"

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Millions of citizens of one of the bloodiest empires known to man – the French colonial state – this weekend pretended to be the most enlightened, yet maligned, people on earth. “The convenient selective amnesia of the French people is as stunning as their sense of feeling more aggrieved than anyone else in the world.” Tell that to the Haitians, Libyans, Algerians, Vietnamese and the peoples still dominated by France in sub-Saharan African.

A Real Socialist Party for South Africa?

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The rich Black capitalists of South Africa’s ruling party and their counterfeit communist partners will soon have to confront real socialists. The nation’s biggest union “is pressing ahead with a conference on creating a united front and, possibly, a political party to build socialism in South Africa.” “Political power without economic power is an empty shell,” says metalworkers union leader Irvin Jim.

Je Suis Who? The Obama Administration’s Selective Grief and Mourning

by BAR editor and columnist, Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

In the Obama administration’s hierarchy of worthy victims, unarmed Blacks slain by U.S. police rank far below French cartoonists. “When will politicians like President Obama or Attorney General Eric Holder condemn the murders of unarmed black boys, men and women with the same level of intensity and clamor that we have seen in Paris – followed by indictments of killer cops?” 

The Charlie Hebdo White Power Rally in Paris: A Celebration of Western Hypocrisy

By BAR editor and correspondent Ajamu Baraka

As leaders of the Russia, China, and Western powers and their client states like Israel, all of whom persecute and lock up their own journalists, celebrated the protection of hate-speech cartoonists in France, the real deal as always was not freedom of the press or protection of dissenters, but white Western hypocrisy.

Why Are We Afraid of Naming and Confronting Capitalism?

by Ajamu Nangwaya

Lots of “leftists,” “progressives” and even folks that call themselves socialists refuse to undertake a direct assault on the capitalist system, limiting themselves to a narrower critique of “crony,” or “unfettered” capitalism – or, simply, “greedy rich people.” Which just goes to show that “the ruling-class has imposed its economic and political ideologies onto the consciousness of the oppressed as natural, self-evident ways of seeing reality.”

Global Interlocking Oppressions from #Ferguson2Palestine

by Dr. Johnny E. Williams

Thanks to President Obama’s failures to defend Black rights and dignity, “black folks have taken to the streets because, for the first time since the modern civil rights era, we truly understand that ‘we are the ones we have been waiting for’ to bring about permanent structural change.” We also understand “the importance of forging domestic and global alliances” – especially with the similarly oppressed Palestinian people.

Where the #BlackLivesMatterMovement, Cuba, and the DPRK collide: Self-Determination and the Liberation Agenda

by Danny Haiphong

The new year portends great possibilities of change. “The #BlackLivesMatter movement is a spark that, with continued organization, has the potential to revive revolutionary political thought and action in the US for the first time in decades.” On the international scene, “the exploitative and murderous conditions of imperialism are moving the world's people to create a more just global order.”

Mario Cuomo: Governor of Mass Incarceration

by Pascal Robert

Mario Cuomo, mourned as a quintessential liberal, was first and foremost a champion builder of prisons. Mass incarceration “was not simply an agenda of the evil Republicans, but also the imperative of bleeding heart liberals like Mario Cuomo, Bill Clinton, and Joe Biden.”

Stop Kidding Yourself: The Police Were Created to Control Working Class and Poor People

by Sam Mitrani

The cops have always worked for the rich and powerful. In the South, policing began with slave patrols. In Chicago, “businessmen donated money to buy the police rifles, artillery, Gatling guns, buildings, and money to establish a police pension out of their own pockets.”

Black Haitian Lives Matter: Haiti on the Fifth Anniversary of the Earthquake

by Jesse Hagopian

The author was a witness to the disaster that took hundreds of thousands of Haitian lives in 2010 – a catastrophe used by the U.S. as a pretext for massive military invasion. “I saw a virtual cornucopia of water and supplies piled up on the tarmac, none of it being transported to the people in need, who were seen as a threat by the US military.”

Social Justice Quiz 2015: How Much Do You Know About Inequality?

by Bill Quigley

The United States behaves as if it is an arbiter of “social justice” in the world. But, in reality, the U.S. is among the earth’s most unequal societies. How widespread is social injustice in America? Take the test.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch Plotted to Destabilize Eritrea

by Thomas C. Mountain

It appears that the corporate guardians of international “human rights” have acted as paid operatives of the U.S. effort to destabilize the fiercely independent east African nation of Eritrea. The scandal is reminiscent of operations against Cuban during the same period.

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 1/12/15

Cop Body Cameras Threaten Civil Liberties

President Obama wants to spend $75 million to equip cops with body cameras. However, Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee warned that “body cameras will ultimately be used to create a mountain of new evidence” against citizens, leading to even higher rates of mass incarceration. “These cameras monitor people without any individualized basis for suspicion” of committing a crime, said Buttar. “The best thing to do is prohibit those police from arresting residents who capture police activities on their phone cameras.”

Mumia Abu Jamal’s Lawyers Challenge Silencing Act

The Pittsburgh-based Abolitionist Law Center and two other legal outfits filed a motion to halt Pennsylvania from enforcing the so-called Silencing Act, designed to muzzle the voice of the nation’s best known political prisoner, Mumia Abu Jamal. The law gives victims of personal injury crimes the right to sue people convicted of such offenses for inflicting “mental anguish” by virtue of their subsequent, undefined “conduct,” including by speech, written word, or other communication or action. Abolitionist Law Center executive director Bret Grote said the law is irredeemably unconstitutional. “The whole purpose of it was to target Mumia Abu Jamal, whose conduct has been recognized by the courts as constitutionally protected.” Thousands of other Pennsylvania prison inmates and convicts that have served their sentences, as well as civilians who do business with such persons, could also be prosecuted under the Silencing Act.

Mumia: Blowback in France

“Wars have a way of returning home in the most unexpected of ways,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, in a report for Prison Radio. The Iraq War still generates new violence, ten years after the invasion. “We’re seeing that now, in France,” said Abu Jamal. “Perhaps we shall see it here, as well.”

Racist Mythology Props Up U.S. Ruling Class

The U.S. social order is largely built on the myth that cops, judges, jailers and prosecutors “are all that stand between us and rampant crime, anarchy and ruin,” said BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon. Rather than provide a decent standard of living for its people, America brands Black and poor folk as unworthy and irredeemable. For that reason, said Dixon, “the burgeoning movement against police immunity and impunity really is a threat to so-called national security, a menace to the privileges of banksters and employers, of privatizers and gentrifiers, and of the prerogatives of the 1%.”

Lynne Stewart: Abolish Grand Juries

In an article published in Socialist Action newspaper, people’s lawyer Lynne Stewart called the grand jury system an “anachronism” that “puts another roadblock in the way of the people. It’s a way in which the prosecution keeps the playing field for itself; it controls all the moves,” said Stewart, who spent five years in prison before she was released a year ago, suffering from Stage Four breast cancer. Only two or three times in her 30 years as an attorney has a grand jury refused to go along with the prosecutions wishes, said Stewart.

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: One hour. Click here to download the show.

Black People’s Grand Jury Indicts Cop for First Degree Murder of Michael Brown

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

A mostly white grand jury, manipulated by a racist prosecutor, will not have the last word in the death of Michael Brown. “We cannot trust our children, the future of our community, in the hands of this establishment that has proven to us over and over again its disregard for black life,” said one of the prosecutors for the Black People’s Grand Jury. The indictment is “an exercise in self-determination, a collective response to a collective assault on a people.”

Freedom Rider: Police Corruption Exposed

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The informal NYPD slowdown is proving that cops do more harm than good. Low level arrests have plummeted, but “so far, none of these declines in enforcement have had an impact on safety in the city.” The lesson is clear: “The hyper policing inflicted on black communities is a sick farce, serving only the purpose of making white people feel comfortable about the numbers of black people in jails.”

The Big Reality Show, the 1% and the Myth of the Thin Blue Line

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The myth that a thin blue line of cops, jailers and prosecutors aggressively policing the ghettoes and public spaces being all that stands between society and chaos is far more important than the profits of prison labor or privatizers in maintaining America's vast prison state. The moral lesson of off-the-chain cops and the prison state justifies and makes legitimate the the brutal inequality of neoliberal America.

Once Again, the Empire Rolls the Dice of War

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The U.S.-Saudi oil price war against Russia, like the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, is “a calculated act of desperate men, based on the inescapable facts of imperial decline and the logic of class survival.” In their doomed attempt to stay on top, U.S. imperialists and their clients risk burning down the global house. “But, that’s what any ruling class would do when staring death in the face.”

FIST Boston Statement On The #BlackLivesMatter Movement

by Danny Haiphong

“The police ensure Black America, Indigenous America, and the majority of people of color live under a constant state of social and economic violence.” The U.S. military seeks to impose a similar regime in the rest of the world. Both institutions serve the global imperialist system.

Liberals, Trojan Horses and the Myth of Police-Community Relations

by Josmar Trujillo

“Community policing” is whatever the cops want it to be, coexisting with hyper-intrusive “Broken Windows” policing, saturation policing, and cultivation of community snitches. “Community policing's most strident advocates are liberals who fundamentally believe in the role of the police as it stands.”

Zombie Apocalypse and the Politics of Artificial Scarcity

by Colin Jenkins

Much of contemporary entertainment reflects the capitalist reality, “something akin to a post-apocalyptic, zombie-filled world where manufactured scarcity pits poor against poor and worker against worker, all the while pulling attention away from the zombie threat.”

The Ongoing Impact of White Supremacy on People of Color

by Solomon Comissiong

European global rule was imposed by both physical and psychological means. “White supremacy has falsely set a standard that implies anything white is not only right, it is the model for excellence.” Imperialism, no matter the color of the face that presides over the empire, “is yet another tool in the arsenal of white supremacy.”

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 1/07/15

Michael Brown’s Killer Indicted by Black People’s Grand Jury

After two days of investigation and deliberations, a Black People’s Grand Jury handed down a first degree murder indictment against former Ferguson, Missouri, policeman Darren Wilson in the death of teenager Michael Brown. Four Black prosecutors presented evidence to the 12 St. Louis County residents, who also drew on the records of the mostly white official grand jury that failed to indict Wilson in November. “Darren Wilson is a killer, but he’s not out there by himself,” said lead people’s prosecutor Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement. “Somebody made the decision to leave the body there for 4 ½ hours” in the blazing August heat. Darren Wilson “has been rewarded with almost a million dollars by white people. The problem is institutional, and this grand jury is more capable of understanding that” than the one that was seated and manipulated by St. Louis prosecutor Bob McCulloch.

An Awakening People

Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the lifelong activist and former professor of African American Studies at Temple University, said young Black people are “awakening. They’re getting a sense of their power and what they can do without any corporate-designated leaders. And, once they’ve seen that, they’re going to connect the killing of Black people by the police to the economic and social crisis that engulfs the country.” Dr. Monteiro was fired from his post at Temple for his political activism.

Beyond Issues of Brutality: Social Transformation

“What we’re seeing is the radicalization of a new generation,” said Ajamu Baraka, an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report and fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. Through struggle, Black youth will learn that “what is absolutely required is a fundamental transformation of social relationships, and of the entire structure of oppression in this country.” Baraka was a co-founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network.

America’s “Unworthy Victims”

Activist scholar Paul Street, author of the recent article, “Worthy and Unworthy Victims: From Vietnam and Iraq to Ferguson and New York,” said the United States lauds its soldiers and cops as saints. The message is: “They’re policing the world and keeping chaos at bay; they’re nobly sacrificing themselves for the common good.” Meanwhile, “the folks on the other end of our guns” die in far greater numbers: millions killed in Vietnam and Iraq and untold numbers murdered under color of law in the “homeland.”

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Download the show here. Length: One hour.

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 12/29/14

Black Grand Jury to Judge Cop that Killed Michael Brown

A Black People’s Grand Jury will convene in St. Louis, January 3 and 4, in response to a mostly white grand jury’s failure to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown. “Already, there is so much evidence that the grand jury process was manipulated by the prosecutor,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Network. “We’ll see whether or not Africans will come to the same conclusion, with more or less the same evidence.” The Black People’s Grand Jury will call additional witnesses, including Black police officers from the region. “It’s a tool that can be used by African people in any city in this country to deconstruct the colonial relationship that we have with white power,” said Yeshitela.

Movement Will Resist Pressures to Retreat

The anti-police violence movement will not waver, despite calls from politicians to “tamp down” on supposedly “divisive rhetoric” out of “respect” for the two New York City cops killed by a lone Black gunman. “The fact that they seem to be more concerned with the lives of police officers than with the lives of young Black people is going to create a greater crisis of legitimacy, not just for the police, but for the American government and its local representatives around the country,” said Dr. Johanna Fernandez, professor of history and African American Studies at Baruch College. Twenty-five thousand police staged a show of force at one of the officer’s funeral. Protests have continued, however, “a sign that the movement is not going to easily disappear into the night,” said Fernandez.

Mumia: “Respect for Whom?”

The nation’s best known political prisoner, Mumia Abu Jamal, rejects calls to suspend demonstrations “out of respect” for police. “Who respects whom?” he asked. “When cops killed Mike Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, who showed respect for them?” Concerning Eric Garner’s death at police hands, in New York, Abu Jamal said: “Choking a man to death for suspicion of selling a cigarette – real respectful, huh?”

Rogue Cops are Terrorists

Matthew Fogg, a former deputy U.S. Marshal, whistleblower, and activist with Hands Up Coalition DC, said the so-called War on Drugs “changed the paradigm” of police behavior, giving officers a larger “discretionary window” to use deadly force. “A rogue cop is the same as a terrorist,” said Fogg, founder of the Congress Against Racism and Corruption in Law Enforcement (CARCLE). “He has the training, the skills and the means to hurt people and to kill folks.”

Cop-Watch in Ferguson Distributes Cameras

The Canfield Watchmen, named for the apartment complex near the street where Michael Brown was killed, has raised thousands of dollars to equip residents with 210 body-cameras and to conduct “know your rights” classes. But the group’s first task was to prevent the police from destroying a makeshift memorial to Brown. “The Canfield Watchmen’s primary goal was to ensure that the memorial was going to be here, and that the people that come down here to visit wouldn’t have to worry about anybody attacking them,” said co-founder David Whitt.

It’s Not Victims’ Families Job to Call for Non-Violence

Dontre Hamilton was shot 14 times, last April, by a white Milwaukee cop who claimed the young Black man was trying to hit him with his own police baton. “This is a Beast, and only the people can take down the Beast,” said Hamilton’s brother, Nate. “So, we’re activating the power of the people.” The families of police victims are not obliged to be the voice of reason, said Hamilton. “My family doesn’t have to be that voice of reason, to come out and say, ‘No violence.’ The mayor has to be that voice of reason. The police chief has to be that voice of reason. The district attorney has to be that voice of reason – not my family, not any family that has to go through injustice.”

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Click here to download the show. Length: One hour.

Taking the Initiative Back For the Movement After the Brinsley Killings

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The killing of 2 NYPD officers by Ismaaiyl Brinsley were the occasion for fascist cops, mostly Republicans and authoritarian liberal politicians, mostly Democrats along with their black civil rights and media spokespeople, to seize the initiative from the movement against police murder and brutality. But the movement can take the mic back. This issue of Black Agenda Report, is mostly about the movement response to the NYPD killings, along with some timely information on Cuba's present and past role in African liberation, and a remembrance of the US invasion of Panama 25 years ago, which leveled several African neighborhoods in Panama City.
We'll be taking a break next week, and back the first Tuesday or Wednesday in January. Happy holidays and peace, to those who fight for it, and everyone else.

Cops Threaten a Blue Coup in New York City

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

New York City’s cops “threaten mutiny if the State does not stick up for the men and women who do its dirty work.” The police say they are now on a “wartime” footing – as if a state of a war has not existed between police and Black America for the past two generations.

Freedom Rider: Cuba in the American Imagination

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The imperial mentality is not limited to the right wing of the American political spectrum. Some purported leftists greeted the opening to Cuba as if recognition by the U.S. was the greatest thing that ever happened to the island nation. The Cubans don’t see it that way, although they wanted the deal. “President Raul Castro stated in no uncertain terms that Cuba will remain socialist and will not extradite Assata Shakur or anyone else granted asylum by the government.”

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